Frankfurt: MyZeil packs stores in an eye-catching space
By MICHAEL ABRAMS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 28, 2009
Frankfurt is Germany’s financial capital, and one of the major economic centers of Europe. It has a stock market, and so many banks that one of the city’s nicknames is "Bankfurt."
Now, this city on the Main River has another temple of consumerism, the MyZeil shopping mall.
MyZeil is part of the PalaisQuartier, one of Europe’s largest inner-city construction projects. It consists of the mall, two skyscrapers — one a hotel, the other office space — and the reconstruction of the former Thurn und Taxi Palace.
The mall, as the name implies, is on the Zeil, Frankfurt’s main pedestrian shopping street, which is one of the most popular in Germany. If there weren’t already enough places to shop along the Zeil, with the opening of MyZeil in February, the choice is even bigger.
Spread out over six main floors and covering more than 19 acres, there are close to 60 shops open, and a few more still to come. A two-story fitness center tops off the building.
Even if you are not into shopping, MyZeil is worth a look. The glass-and-steel structure designed by Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas is hard to miss with its flamboyant façade.
Its glass front is funnel-shaped, with a view of the sky on the other side of the building, seen through its narrow end.
Inside, a glass-and-steel pillar at the building’s center climbs to the roof, which is made of the same material, letting light flood the structure. The floors seem to be free-standing, giving the visitor an unobstructed view from top to bottom.
An escalator, the longest self-supported in Germany, speeds the shopper from the first floor to the fifth, where the food court is located.
A stairway from here leads up to Vizz, a "family leisure center" with a restaurant and various play areas. For a fee, you can leave children ages 4 to 12 there while you shop.
While you can go straight up to the fifth floor (in Germany you start on the ground floor, then go up to the first floor, so this is would be labeled the fourth floor), you have to take escalators down floor by floor.
The fourth floor is completely taken up by Saturn, the German multimedia/entertainment giant. On floors one through three are mostly fashion boutiques, with a sprinkling of health and beauty shops, electronics and lifestyle stores thrown in. A grocery store and a drugstore are housed in the basement.
There are coffee bars on all levels where, when you’re shopped-out, you can get a pick-me-up to continue on.
On the QT
MyZeil is in downtown Frankfurt, on the Zeil, the city’s main pedestrian shopping street. There is a parking garage under the mall. Follow the PalaisQuartier parking signs. The closest public transportation stop is Hauptwache. Subway lines U1, U2, U3, U6 and U7, and local trains (S-Bahn) lines 1–9, all stop here.
Most stores are open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Wednesday and until 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. A few open earlier or close later. The Gastro-Boulevard (food court) is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and the fitness center is open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Friday and weekends and holidays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Vizz, the children’s area is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
There are 14 places to eat, snack or drink spread over the mall, nine of them on the food court, called the Gastro-Boulevard. There, you’ll find, among other things, Asian, Spanish, Mexican, Italian and Indian food.
Entrance to the mall is free. Vizz has tiered admission prices, starting at 2.50 euros depending on how many children and adults are entering. Parking is 1.50 euros per hour.